Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Or
the curse. The sequel shews that this would prove their portion, and that they would have to do penance among all the
Ver. 3. Before.
The Jews are still in expectation of this deliverance, as they say this prediction does not relate to the captivity at Babylon.
But Nehemias understood it in this sense, (2 Esdras i. 8,) though it will not have its perfect accomplishment till the latter
days, when the Israelites will embrace the true faith, Romans xi. 25.
Ver. 4. Poles.
The arctic and antarctic, the northern and southern poles; that is, into the most distant regions. (Menochius) --- Hebrew,
"the end of heaven," where it seems to rest upon the earth. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Fathers.
Some sinners have risen to greater eminence by sincere repentance, than others who have offended less. (Worthington) See Luke
Ver. 6. Circumcise.
Septuagint, "purify." Chaldean, "take away the folly from." After the captivity, idolatry was never very prevalent among the
Jews. (Haydock) --- But this prediction will not be fulfilled till the Jews acknowledge the Messias. (Calmet) --- Those whose
hearts are circumcised, as God here promises, are enabled to love him above all things; and no doubt he will fulfil what he
has thus engaged to do, with regard to some. (Worthington) (St. Augustine, q. 53.)
Ver. 9. Fathers.
He will again take pleasure in bestowing favours upon thee, (Calmet) of a spiritual and more lasting nature. Hence the
Jews may understand that they have not yet repented, as they ought to do; since they have been under the wrath of God for
above 1500 years. (Salien) (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Above.
Hebrew, "separated, unknown," &c. Septuagint, "too heavy." St. Paul (Romans x. 6,) adapts this to the Christian law, which
is the perfection of that given by Moses. The precepts of Jesus Christ are well known, and easily accomplished (Calmet) by
the sincere lover of justice, (Haydock) assisted by powerful grace. (St. Augustine, q. 54.) St. Peter (Acts xv.) insinuates,
that it was very difficult under the old law, to comply with all the regulations, at a time when the sacraments did not convey
such great graces. (Du Hamel)
Ver. 12. Work.
There is no need of studying the mysteries of astrology, as the Magi do, to understand the will of God. (Grotius) --- St.
Paul adds, (ver. 7.) or who shall descend into the deep? which is not in [the] Hebrew. (Calmet) --- But he probably
alludes to the following verse, as the sea is often styled the deep. It was not necessary for the Jews, or for
Christians, (Haydock) to undertake long voyages, to discover the true God, as the ancient philosophers were obliged to do;
and after they had obtained some idea of the truth, they were afraid to declare it, on account of the prejudices of the people.
(Calmet) --- But the most illiterate among us, may easily obtain sufficient knowledge to regulate his life. (Haydock)
Ver. 14. Heart.
Septuagint add, "and in thy hands." Thou art often obliged to talk about the law, and to learn it by heart. Nothing hinders
thee, with the grace of God, from putting it in practice. (Calmet) --- No teacher could more plainly inculcate the liberty
of the human will. (Theodoret, q. 38.; St. Augustine, de Nat. 69.; St. Ambrose; &c.) (Worthington)
Ver. 15. Evil.
Obedience will insure eternal life: but if thou give the preference to evil, the second death must be thy portion, ver. 19.
(Haydock) (Ecclesiasticus xv. 17.) (Menochius) --- It may also refer to the goods and evils of the present life, of which
Moses has been speaking. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. I
call. He begins his canticle in the same emphatical manner, (chap. xxii.) as Isaias does his prophecy. (Haydock)
Ver. 20. He
is. From God all advantages are derived. We may render the Hebrew, with the Septuagint, "Because this is thy life (Calmet)....to
dwell," &c. By observing the law of God, long life and possession of the promised land can be alone attained. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Great mercies are promised to the penitent: God's commandment
is feasible. Life and death are set before them.
1 Now *when all these things shall be come upon thee, the blessing, or
the curse, which I have set forth before thee: and thou shalt be touched with repentance of thy heart among all the nations,
into which the Lord thy God shall have scattered thee,
2 And shalt return to him, and obey his commandments, as I command thee
this day, thou and thy children, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul:
3 The Lord thy God will bring back again thy captivity, and will have
mercy on thee, and gather thee again out of all the nations, into which he scattered thee before.
4 If thou be driven as far as the poles of heaven, the Lord thy God will
fetch thee back from thence,
5 *And will take thee to himself, and bring thee into the land which
thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it: and blessing thee, he will make thee more numerous than were thy fathers.
6 The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed:
that then mayst love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, that thou mayst live.
7 And he will turn all these curses upon thy enemies, and upon them that
hate and persecute thee.
8 But thou shalt return, and hear the voice of the Lord thy God, and
shalt do all the commandments which I command thee this day:
9 And the Lord thy God will make thee abound in all the works of thy
hands, in the fruit of thy womb, and in the fruit of thy cattle, in the fruitfulness of thy land, and in the plenty of all
things. For the Lord will return to rejoice over thee in all good things, as he rejoiced in thy fathers:
10 Yet so, if thou hear the voice of the Lord thy God, and keep his precepts
and ceremonies, which are written in this law: and return to the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.
11 This commandment, that I command thee this day, is not above thee,
nor far off from thee:
12 Nor is it in heaven, that thou shouldst say: Which of us can go up
to heaven, to bring it unto us, and we may hear and fulfil it in work?
13 Nor is it beyond the sea: that thou mayst excuse thyself, and say:
*Which of us can cross the sea, and bring it unto us that we may hear, and do that which is commanded?
14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart,
that thou mayst do it.
15 Consider that I have set before thee this day life and good; and on
the other hand, death and evil:
16 That thou mayst love the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways, and keep
his commandments and ceremonies, and judgments; and thou mayst live, and he may multiply thee, and bless thee in the land,
which thou shalt go in to possess.
17 But if thy heart be turned away, so that thou wilt not hear, and being
deceived with error, thou adore strange gods, and serve them:
18 I foretell thee this day that thou shalt perish, and shalt remain
but a short time in the land, to which thou shalt pass over the Jordan, and shalt go in to possess it.
19 I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before
you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou, and thy seed may live:
20 And that thou mayst love the Lord thy God, and obey his voice, and
adhere to him (for he is thy life, and the length of thy days), that thou mayst dwell in the land, for which the Lord swore
to thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that he would give it them.
1: Year of the World 2553.
5: 2 Machabees i. 29.
13: Romans x. 6.